Check out my Interview with
the Author :)
Tell us a little about you : )
I'm a former lawyer, now a stay at home mom in London, which is a long way from my home (New Mexico) but a great place to live while my husband does his PhD. I've been working on my writing career for about a dozen years now and started out in science fiction and fantasy. Chick lit was something I wrote on the side to experiment with publishing models, so I sold a chick lit novel to a small press to see what that was like and then indie published a couple more novels, and the rest is history. I make most of my writing income from my chick lit and romance these days.
Do you mostly write during the day or night? Or whenever?
I write whenever I can get a spare moment, which can be during the day or night. Having a preference is a luxury I can't afford these days, because if I could only write under certain conditions, I'd never write. I write with kids crawling on me, or jot down lines while waiting for the train. I run scenes in my head all the time that I can get away with it - and even sometimes when I can't and people stare at me for being so out of it. This is the career I've always wanted, so I make time for it every spare second I can!
Did you have to research, and if yes, how was that process?
When I wrote Someone Else's Fairytale, I was even less well known than I am now, which is to say that nobody had ever heard of me except for a few thousand Latter-day Saints who'd bought my first chick lit novel, so I was very hesitant to go out and do research. I guess because it felt disingenuous to say I was writing a book, only to have that book never come out - this was before the indie publishing movement got underway. So for research I relied on friends whom I'd be talking to anyway. One of them was a production assistant on a film that never got released. Another's husband had had his novel turned into a movie and they went to the premier. Another is the personal assistant for a writer who's had his books turned into an HBO series (yeah, I'm sure you can guess who that is), and I'd talk with him through instant messages. I'm sure there are a ton of things I got wrong about the film industry, but I did the best I could at the time.
Are there any messages that you want your readers to see? What is that?
Not really, which may surprise some readers. Someone Else's Fairytale has a chastity subplot in it that people may think is preachy, because usually people who are into chastity like to preach. It's in there because it drives the third act, and it's central to the opinions and world view of some of the characters. Really, when someone finishes the book, the message I want them to take from it is: "E.M. Tippetts provides good value for money. I should go buy another one of her books." I realize that may sound mercenary, but that's the businesswoman in me!.
How long have you been writing?
Since I could hold a pencil, honestly, though I put my writing dreams on the back burner while I went to law school and got myself a good fallback career option, which is one way to go about this. I've had friends who did their degrees in English and writing and worked in mailrooms and tech support and such until they made it as writers, and there's something to be said for that too. For me, though, I wanted to make sure that I could support a family at short notice if necessary.
The downside to this was that by the time I turned my attention to my writing in my mid-twenties, I was well behind a lot of my peers. It took another five years of working on my craft before I began to sell short stories, and now, at thirty-eight, I feel a little old to just be breaking into novels, but I try not to dwell on that. My law career and those extra years of life give me more grist for the proverbial story-mill.
Ever since I finished law school, though, writing has been my top priority. I used to get up at five in the morning to get my writing done before I went to work, and then I'd return to it in the evenings and spend as much of Saturday as possible, working on my craft. There's no career I've put anywhere near as many hours into, not even law.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently in rewrites for the still untitled sequel to my YA contemporary romance, CASTLES ON THE SAND. This book, like CASTLES, is an exercise in emotive writing for me, as I know that's an area where I'm weak. I've got four fantastic beta readers who've read the rough draft and torn me to shreds, so next week I'll be going through it from beginning to end and seeing how much better I can make it. It's daunting, but exciting too. That book will be released May 21st. The next book I'll write will be the third book in the FAIRYTALE series.
For aspiring writers, do you have any advice for them?
Don't take shortcuts, which is the advice a lot of writers and editors give. Now I'm going to sound old when I say: Back in my day, self publishing wasn't an option. The only way into print was to get an agent and a publisher. Nowadays, you don't need and may not even want that, but don't self-publish to take a shortcut. Plan your career just like you'd plan any business. I decided to go indie to gain a new skill set: marketing and publicity, and to get started on building my readership, but I knew at the time that this wasn't going to make my path to a full time career any shorter. I don't have the clout of a publisher behind me and I've got to do all the work of promotion by myself. You also need to coordinate things like editing and cover design. Self publishing is not the easy way; in fact, it is the hard way, but knowing this, you may still decide it's the way for you.
Which writers do you look up to?
Anyone who's made it to a full time career which, numbers-wise, is a lot of people. Percentage of people who want that job-wise, it's rather small. I not only admire people who've made it work, I study them and analyze what they did and how they did it. Quite a few write way better than I can ever hope to, but not all. There are some downright mediocre writers making a good living, so it's important to know that there's a lot more to a writing career than just knowing how to write, and I admire anyone who's found a way to play to their strengths and give up the day job as a result.
What are your favorite genres to read?
Anything, really. I'm currently reading The Kite Runner, and then Robin Hobb's latest novel just got delivered to my Kindle (I pre-ordered it). What's rare about those two books is that I don't know the authors. I spend a LOT of time reading my friends' books, not because I'm that loyal of a friend, but because my friends are that awesome. And, these days, I know enough authors that I can't even begin to read all of their books. I also have close friends whose books I've never read and vice versa. We live in an age of plenty, though, when it comes to publishing. No other time has had so many books so readily available. People a few hundred years ago wouldn't believe it.
Film you are looking forward to see in theaters?
The second Hunger Games movie. Love those books and love Jennifer Lawrence!
Favorite guilty pleasure television show?
Nashville, which they only just started airing over here in the UK. It seems like there are so many great shows these days, though, with top notch casts and long story arcs in the writing. Television has come a long way since the episodic fare I grew up with where the main characters stayed pretty static and the situation they were in status quo from one season to the next. It's cool to watch the format develop.
- Fall or Winter?
Fall is my favorite season, ever.
- Hot Chocolate, Tea or Coffee?
I'm LDS (Mormon), so hot chocolate
- Mac or PC?
Mac. My awesome fans bought enough of my books that I could finally upgrade from my PC that was dying.
- England or Scotland? : )
I'm not getting in the middle of that one. I'll just say that I like all of Britain.
- The Voice or The X-Factor?
I don't watch reality TV, I'm afraid.
- Print or E-Book?
E-Book, more portable, instant delivery, cheaper, AND the author makes more money per sale.
- Middle Earth or Hogwarts?
Both! I'm an Oxford graduate and went to high school in a castle, so I've got ties to both franchises there.
- Revenge or Once Upon A Time?
I've only seen Revenge - another great TV show.
- Frozen Yogurt or Ice Cream?
Either, provided it's chocolate.
- Sunny or Rainy Weather?
Depends on whether I have to go outside. Rain is great for days in, reading.
- Christmas or New Years?
You know, my favorite holiday is Halloween. It's when everyone in the US mutually agrees to go nuts and dress up in costumes. It's not even a national holiday, just a custom. I love it!
Jason Vanderholt, Hollywood's hottest actor, falls head over heels for everygirl, Chloe Winters, who hasn't gotten around to watching most of his movies. She becomes the woman every other woman in America is dying to be, but it just isn't her fairytale.
I stepped out our front door into the frigid, Albuquerque night. The crisp air, tinged with the scent of woodsmoke, flushed through my lungs, and the stars winked distantly in the deep cobalt sky. It was three thirty a.m., way too early to be awake.
A truck turned the corner and rumbled its way over to our house. I watched it parallel park, then go silent as the lights switched off. The driver's side door opened, and my best friend, Matthew, stepped down. His cowboy boots thudded against the asphalt, then crunched across the gravel that covered our front yard. “Howdy,” he said.
I stifled a laugh. He was the walking stereotype of a Texan, with his muscular build, tight jeans, and flannel shirt. His hazel eyes were smiling, though. Like me, he was a senior at UNM, and he was a source of sanity, something I needed to counterbalance my housemate, Lori, who just then skipped out the front door, jumped down onto the gravel, and struck an action pose, both hands up, ready to karate chop whatever imaginary adversary might be lurking under the giant cottonwood that dominated our front yard. She wasn't wearing any nylons with her skirt.
“Aren't you cold?” Matthew asked.
“Yep, but I don't think this is a cold weather scene we're in.”
“We're extras,” I said, for what felt like the millionth time. “Nobody's going to notice what we're wearing.”
“How did she talk you into this?” Matthew asked me. The three of us started towards campus, on foot. We'd been told not to drive because there was limited parking.
“I don't know,” I said.
“Come on, just picture it.” Lori waved a hand, setting the scene “-we're on the set, and Jason Vanderholt walks by.”
I rolled my eyes.
“I tell him how hot he was in the New Light movies-”
“Because I'm sure he never hears that,” I said. The New Light franchise was a trilogy of gladiator movies that I'd managed to avoid seeing, despite the fact that Jason Vanderholt's long haired, shirtless figure had been plastered on every vertical surface for three years straight while they came out.
“Sarcasm,” chided Matthew.
“You should ask him why his character was named 'sword',” I said.
“Gladius,” Lori corrected me.
“Right. That's Latin for, 'sword'.”
“It was his nickname. But you're ruining my narrative here."
We stepped off the curb to cross the street. Given the hour, there was no traffic, though in the still night air, we could hear voices of other groups who, like us, were headed towards campus on foot.
"He stops to talk to us,” said Lori.
“Then what?” said Matthew.
“That's it. He stops to talk to us.”
“A girl can dream.”
“Apparently not. That the best you can do?”
“Shut up okay?” Lori stuck her tongue out at him. “I'm a math major.”
“At least come up with something to talk to him about.”
“Ooooh! You know what? I should totally ask him if he remembers Vicki Baca! Remember, she said she had a locker next to him in high school?”
Aside from being the star of the multi-bazillion dollar New Light franchise, Vanderholt was also a local, or he had been before he'd hit it big with a show on the Disney Channel back in his teens. I cleared my throat. “I know about thirty people who claim to have had the locker next to him in high school, which makes me wonder how they do the lockers at La Cueva.”
“I so hope we get to meeeeeet him.” Lori turned a pirouette.
Matthew shook his head. “You're gonna catch a cold.”
I sneaked in a smile the next time he glanced my way. He chuckled, his shoulders moving silently.
The film set was barely controlled chaos. “Just line up here!” a woman was shouting when we walked up. “We're still getting the catering area set up for you. Line up here!” She gestured at the walkway that led up to the UNM anthropology building, a wide strip of concrete that bisected the lawn. The pre-dawn light washed the color out of everything, making the world look like a faded photograph. The rounded, stucco walls of the building seemed old and historic.
Matthew, Lori and I found a place in line and stood with our paper cups of hot chocolate that we'd bought from The Frontier on the way. I sidled up to Matthew. “Okay,” I said, “I get why Lori's doing this. Why are you?” I noticed that he'd combed his light brown curls with water, and a couple of them had frozen.
He smiled. “It's once in a lifetime, you know?”
“Don't tell me you're a closet Jason Vanderholt fan?”
“Oh, and you were being serious just now?”
“Ohmigosh!” Lori shrieked so loud that I had to cover my ears. Not easy with a cup of hot chocolate in one hand.
“Lor-” I said.
But I was cut off by more shrieking up and down the line. I turned and saw that the girls on the other side of us had collapsed. One of them sobbed. The other just shook. “I love you!” someone shouted.
Lori dropped to her knees.
“Uh,” said Matthew. He knelt down next to her. “You all right?”
Tears streamed down her cheeks and she shook like a leaf in a windstorm.
“Yes, hi,” said a deep, male voice behind me. “Hello. Yep, sure. How do you spell that?”
“Ohmigosh!” shrieked Lori again.
More About The Author
E.M. Tippetts grew up in New Mexico and now lives in London, where she raises two boisterous toddlers, designs jewelry, and writes novels. A former attorney, she used to specialize in real estate and estate planning, specifically literary estate planning. She currently has five novels out, Time & Eternity, Paint Me True, Someone Else's Fairytale, Castles on the Sand, and Nobody's Damsel (Fairytale 2).
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